KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Behind a second consecutive 20-point effort from Caleb Smith, Northeastenr State picked their sixth win in the month of November for the first time in the program’s NCAA era, beating Rockhurst 78-69 Tuesday in the MIAA Thanksgiving Challenge.
Tuesday’s 25-point effort was one short of matching Smith’s career mark, and he was a rebound short of his second career double-double.
Iain McLaughlin scored a season-high 15 points, and Brad Davis added 12. Kendrick Thompson put up eight points and eight rebounds, along with four assists.
“You know what are we made of coming off a loss in a game where we didn’t think we played very good defensively, how are we going to react, how are we going to come to play,” said head coach Mark Downey. “It’s great to come up here and play like that and get a win in this building. Hopefully, we can get more wins in this building.”
After trailing midway through the first half, RiverHawks used a 10-4 run to pull in front Rockhurst and never relinquished the lead. In the closing minute, up 38-30, NSU was called for travel while driving to the basket to allow Rockhurst to have the ball back. Before the intermission horn, Rockhurst sank a trey from in front of the NSU bench to trim the RiverHawks lead to 38-33. Smith led NSU with 11 points, and points in the paint controlled the RiverHawks, 20-10.
In the second half, Rockhurst used a 10-1 run to pull even at 43-43 with 12:43 left. Smith halted the run with a three-pointer, and the RiverHawks never trailed. Shooting a hot hand, NSU was 6 of 7 from the field to extend their lead out to 13 with 5:05 left on the clock. Daniel Dotson provided the RiverHawks with a pair of treys during the run.
NSU shot 54.5 percent (30 of 55) from the field and held the rebounding edge by one with 34.
Rockhurst, which picked up their two wins this season against MIAA foes Emporia State and Washburn falls to 2-3 this season.
The RiverHawks return home on Monday to host Southwestern Christian at 7 p.m.